There’s Power in Numbers – It’s Time For a Manufacturer’s Association

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Manufactured Products Dominica

Some of The Locally Manufactured Products in Dominica

Manufacturing industries are responsible for a significant share of Dominica’s economic production, generating $EC17.95 million in GDP in 2009.  Because manufacturing firms also use millions of dollars worth of commodities and services as inputs, the sector is responsible for an even bigger share of total output.

Invest Dominica Authority (IDA) Investment Report for 2007-2009, which shows the performance of only beneficiaries of fiscal incentives reveals that for the period 2007, the manufacturing industries provided 67 jobs, more than any other sector. In 2008, the manufacturing industries provided 86 jobs, second only after the services industries, and in 2009, the manufacturing industries were the leading provider of jobs with 85 persons employed. Based on the foregoing analysis, it can be surmised that employment in the manufacture sector has been constant unlike some of the other industries.

Despite, these impressive statistics the manufacturers continue to lament about the environment in which they operate. Concerns are raised with the cost of the factor of productions, which they believe is one of the single most important aspects that make their product uncompetitive on the domestic and international market.

International competitiveness is driven by the firm. However, the enabling environment can either act as a facilitator in this process or hinder the competitiveness of the firms that operate within the country. Therefore, it behooves us to seek to address the matter of the enabling environment.

Each manufacturer may have his own concerns, which is peculiar to the industry in which he operates, but in general their concerns are similar and cut across industries. Whilst the voices of the manufacturers may be heard at various fora, it is on a fragmented and individualist basis.

We know the saying “there is power in numbers’. With the advent of regional and international trading agreements and the concept of free trade, the time is now for Dominica’s Manufacturers to stand and be counted, if they want to remain viable and profitable.  Yes, counted and that means as a Group.

A manufacturer’s Association may provide an avenue for the manufacturers to put their concerns to Government;  to liaise with the Ministry of Trade to ensure that their comments that and feedback are incorporated into the various trading agreements, which are signed on their behalf. But most importantly, an Association is required to facilitate their coming together and building synergies among themselves.  There are a number of initiatives that the Manufacturers, as an Association, can benefit from: bulk buying, use of each other Research Department, transfer of technology, sourcing of raw materials, machinery and equipment.

Someone may say, we have had an Association before, it did not work.  Someone may ask, what is the purpose of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC)?

Yes, there may have been an Association before. Yes, it may have not worked. Yes, Government may not have delivered on its promises.  Yes, the DAIC is there, but we are talking about a focused association, established by Manufacturers for Manufacturers.  Yes, we note all these concerns. But, is this a reason, to close the door on the possibility of re-establishing a manufacturer’s Association.

Countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica are not being deterred by the challenges, which must exist in all Associations. They are looking at the common good, and Dominica manufacturers should do likewise.

There is currently a Coalition of Services Grouping.  Is it time, for a Manufacturer’s Association.  The time is now to decide.

5 Responses to There’s Power in Numbers – It’s Time For a Manufacturer’s Association
  1. As you rightly stated, it is the manufacturing sector that drives the local economy, as well as the world’s economy. Indeed, strength is in numbers, and maybe your organization’s role can be to assist in the setting up of this much-needed association. Get on the ground and mobilize the persons, I am sure that there are many who are interested but who have no had the impetus to get ahead.

  2. We have a business in Canada, and one in USA. We manufacture products that I hold the patent rights to. We have been contemplating a relocation to Dominica. Yes, a manufacturers association would be a very good thing, and I would be most happy to help in any way that I can. We will be in Dominica before the year end.


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